Sports

Tiger’s infamy is only temporary

Prior to a couple of months ago, professional golfer Tiger Woods was recognized as the best golfer in the world, and possibly the best golfer of all time. Then, in the early morning of Nov. 27, 2009, Woods was involved in a minor car accident, but the details of what caused the accident were not released. A few weeks later, it was discovered that the accident took place while Woods was fleeing from his wife, Elin Nordegren, after she discovered that Woods had been cheating on her with several mistresses. From then on, the media exploded, turning an already intriguing story into a full-blown investigation. Despite the bad press, the public shouldn't just throw their favor for Woods out the window just yet.

Woods has been treated unfairly and has been exposed to way too much media criticism. However, if Woods plays his cards right, he will be able to put this troubling time behind him. After the incident, the only thing mentioned on the news was the Woods situation. Different channels ranging from ESPN to CBS reported on the “scandal,” with many people attacking Woods for his infidelity. Overall, the Woods story has been blown way out of proportion, and the public is not taking into account that Woods is a human being, just like everyone else. As a human, he will obviously make some mistakes in his life. Although what he did was wrong, there is no reason for us to judge his every move. Woods’ status as a role model should be determined based on the way he handles this situation, not because of the mistakes he has made. If Woods continues to handle himself in a professional manner, and proves that he has turned his life around from a major setback, this could in fact increase his status as a respected role model. He will always have this as a red mark on his mostly perfect resume, but he can easily bounce back in a huge way.

We must also remember that Woods is still the best golfer in the world today. No matter what he does off the course, he still brings excitement to the golf world unlike any other to ever play the game of golf. Golf fans should separate his play from his off-course antics, and view him as someone that has worked so hard to achieve many of his current accomplishments. Woods could not have gotten this far without hard work throughout his life, and any other current golfer cannot rival his level of dedication to the sport. He has fully earned his title as “Sportsman of the Decade,” as presented to him by the Associated Press. Tiger has 71 career PGA Tour Titles and has also won 14 major tournaments. No golfer other than the great Jack Nicklaus can be mentioned in the same sentence as Woods when talking about the game of golf, and it should be kept this way. This situation should not undermine his accomplishments, and I fully expect Woods to someday be elected into the Hall of Fame.

Another debate has been about Woods' future ability to bounce back from such a devastating blow to his reputation. Major companies such as Gatorade, AT&T, and General Motors have all dropped Woods as a sponsor. Some companies, such as Nike, have stuck with Woods but lessened the amount of publicity he gets within the company. I believe that if Woods follows a few simple steps, he can come back to golf facing a much better reaction than many people are expecting. First off, Tiger must seek help from other superstars that have been in similar situations. The first name that comes to mind is none other than NBA hero, Kobe Bryant. Bryant went through the exact same situation almost seven years ago. However, Bryant has easily salvaged his reputation by making well-timed apologies along with continuing to give all his effort on the court. He has made it his personal goal to win as many championships as possible, and he is actually coming off an NBA championship from last year. Along with great success on the court, Bryant has healed his image by staying out of anything controversial for the past seven years. As long as Woods stays clean and continues to have success on the course, he will be able to repair his image.

The road out of infamy will be extremely tough for Woods, but not impossible by any means. As long as he makes all the right moves, and fixes up his personal life, he will come back stronger than ever. By the end of his career, Woods will be remembered as the greatest golfer to ever play the game, and this incident will merely be a speed bump in what will be an otherwise stellar career.